Nancy Spiegelberg wrote this poem:
I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup
Uncertain…in asking any small drop of refreshment
If only I had known you better
I’d have come running with a bucket.
If I only had known you better…I’d have come running with a bucket!
Maybe that’s the problem, we don’t know God well enough to know what or how much we can ask for.
Shortly after Dallas Seminary was founded in 1924, it came to the point of bankruptcy. All the creditors were going to foreclose at noon on a particular day. That morning, the founders of the seminary met in the president’s office to pray that God would provide. In that prayer meeting was a man, Dr. Harry Ironside. When it was his turn to pray, he prayed in his refreshing manner: Lord, we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are yours. Please sell some of them and send us the money.”
While they were praying, a Texas rancher came into the business office and said, “I just sold two carloads of cattle in Fort Worth. I’ve been trying to make a business deal go through and it won’t work, and I feel that God is compelling me to give this money to the seminary. I don’t know if you need it or not, but here’s the check.” A secretary took the check to the door of the prayer meeting and gave it to the person who came to the door. He looked at the check, saw it was for the exact amount of the debt, and recognized the name of the cattle rancher who had donated it, and said, “Harry, it looks like God sold the cattle.” (Sermons.com)
1 – I don’t have time for such foolishness. I’ve got to do it myself.
2 – God won’t answer my prayer…God doesn’t do magic anymore.
3 – My request is too little/ too big
4 –I want God to make it happen magically so I don’t have to do anything.
For over a year, I was trying to decide whether or not I was really being called into the ordained ministry. I had started to borrow money to complete my Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt. I was feeling stressed about money, uncertain about some obstacles that seemed to be getting in the way of my plan for finishing at Vanderbilt and going to the Lutheran seminary in South Carolina – things that were creating doubt about whether God really wanted me to do this.
I had a meeting with God where I said, “Okay, God. If you want me to go on to the seminary – I will go, but I won’t go with any debt. It isn’t Biblically sound that I go so deep into debt to get my training, so if you want me to go – you’ll have to find a way to help me to go debt free – without having to borrow any more money and paying back what I’ve already borrowed.” I also said that it would have to happen without receiving any money from the death of anyone… (inheritance). I didn’t want my prayers answered at the expense of anyone.
The next day, I received a call from the person who had bought my business 2 ½ years earlier. The sale of the business had included accepting payments on the amount of money that the bank would not loan him to buy the business; he was making payments with a balloon note due in five years – which was still thirty months away. He was calling to say he wanted to start making extra payments on the principle and wondered if I would send him a new principle/interest schedule because he was sending me $15,000 above his monthly payment.
I paid off the school loan, my truck, and credit cards with the money. And as you see, I kept my part of the bargain by finishing seminary training.
Coincidences? Only for those who don’t believe in the power of prayer or in the divine providence of God.
The only thing that will plug the hole in your bucket is belief – trust – faith.